The Political Jesus Part 2

The Sons of Zebedee

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached him, "Master," they said to him "we want you to do us a favor."
He [Jesus] said to them,
"What it is you want me to do for you?"
They said to him, "Allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory".
Mark 10:35-37

I start at this point to show that Jesus' followers were expecting something quite different than what happened.

Interestingly, in Matthew 20:20-23, it is the mother of the sons of Zebedee who asks Jesus for this.
This alteration may reflect an effort not to portray any of the apostles as misunderstanding Jesus mission.

Jesus approaches Jerusalem

When they were approaching Jerusalem, in sight of Bethphage and Bethany,
close to the Mount of Olives, he [Jesus] sent two of his disciples and said to them

"Go off to the village facing you, and as soon as you enter it you will find a tethered colt that no one has yet ridden.
Untie it and bring it here. If anyone says to you, 'What are you doing?' say, 'The Master needs it and will send it back here directly'".

They went off and found a colt tethered near a door in the open street. As they untied it, some men standing there said, "What are you doing, untying that colt?"
They gave the answer Jesus had told them, and the men let them go.
Mark 11:1-6.

It seems clear this is a prearranged signal to Jesus' advance men that he is arriving.

Interestingly, in Matthew 21:1-7, there are two animals, a donkey and a colt, in order to tie it to the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9.

Jesus arrives in Jerusalem ("Palm Sunday")

Many people spread their cloaks on the road, others greenery which they had cut in the fields.
And those who went in front of him and those who followed him were all shouting,
"Hossanna! Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessings on the coming kingdom of our father David!
Hosanna in the highest heavens!
He entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple.
He looked all around him, but as it was now late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve [the apostles].
Mark 11:8-11.

Both Matthew and Luke drop "the coming kingdom of our father David" line.

Instead Matthew has "Hosanna to the Son of David!
'Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord!'
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens!"
Luke 19:38

Luke has "They cried out: 'Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord!'
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens!"
Luke 19:38

John's account is much shorter The next day the crowds who had come up for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.
They took branches of palm and went out to meet him, shouting,
"Hosanna! 'Blessings on the King of Israel, who comes in the name of the Lord!'
Jesus found a young donkey and mounted it ... "
John 12:14

All quote Psalms 118:26 which reads:
'Blessings on him who comes in the name of Yahweh!' Psalms 118:26

All except Mark refer to Zechariah 9:9 which reads:
Rejoice heart and soul, daughter of Zion!
Shout with gladness, daughter of Jerusalem!
See now, your king comes to you;
he is victorious, he is triumphant,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
He will banish chariots from Ephraim
and horses from Jerusalem;
the bow of war will be banished.
He will proclaim peace for the nations.
His empire shall stretch from sea to sea,
from the River to the ends of the earth.
Zechariah 9:10

What's the 'Buzz'?

And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil.
'Who is this?' people asked.
and the crowds answered, 'This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galillee'.
Matthew 10:10-11

Some Pharisees in the crowd said to him [Jesus], 'Master, check your disciples',
but he answered,
"I tell you, if these keep silence the stones will cry out'. Luke 39:40

Then the Pharisees said to one another, 'You see, there is nothing you can do; look, the whole world is running after him!' John 12:19

Return to "Origins of Christianity"

(c) 2004 Thomas F. Swezey All rights reserved.